The changes you see in your children as they reach adolescence can leave many of us with a whiplash feeling. How is it possible that tiny human beings who were adorable and only wanted to be by our side now are so different? Well, yes, they are different, but they are also wonderful, funny, creative and they still like that you kiss them every day and tell them that you love them, even if they deny it.
The change in the adolescent brain
You may blame their raging hormones for many of their behaviors, but also there will be days when you blame yourself and wonder what you did or didn’t do right to explain what’s going on with your child’s current behavior. Nothing really happens, he’s just a teenager.
Exactly, what happens is adolescence, it’s as simple and as complicated as that. The changes that are happening occur through a brain that does not stop renewing itself over and over again, and this must be so to prepare them to become healthy, strong, productive people and above all, to become happy adults.
If you can understand what’s going on in the teenage brain, then you’ll begin to see how it all starts to make sense. So, if you are still confused, angry, sad or all these things, do not want what happens to be different, just accept what is. Teenagers are being built as human beings, they are growing up and like anything else it is worth the effort to understand them and understand that many days they will be ‘red hot’.
The adolescent brain is transforming to become an adult brain. In the same way that they fell when they were just a few months old to learn to walk, now they will also wobble and fall -emotionally- to learn to be adults. With all of this in mind, you can help make things a little better.
Important changes in adolescence
They appear different
Changes in the brain during adolescence are important. It is the transition from childhood to adult life and requires good neuronal remodeling. During adolescence, they will want to experience the world, try new things and be more s independent.
It lasts until the age of 20 -or more-
We humans are complicated and sometimes adolescents want to experiment and learn a lot and for longer. Children will be under the influence of the adolescent brain until they are about 24 years old, so until this age they will be impulsive people and in constant struggle for control of their emotions.
The adolescent brain interprets emotions differently than an adult
Research shows that adolescents and adults use different parts of the brain when interpreting the emotions of others. Adults use the prefrontal cortex to interpret facial expressions and adolescents use the amygdala to interpret emotions such as threat or hostile attack. The amygdala executes an impulsive reaction from the gut.
Adolescents are able to see anger or aggression where there was none of that. That is why without you realizing it you find yourself in the middle of a battle with your son without having a clue of how you got there. In his brain he felt that you wanted to fight and so he put on the boxing gloves. He will need you to learn to calm down and realize that there is no war, but above all he will need you, to learn to manage all those emotions.
Adolescents can learn if they want faster, they can make good decisions, they will feel stress and anxiety, they will feel vulnerable to addictions… Adolescence is a whole new world for parents who forgot what this stage in their lives was like, but what matters is that the communication channel is always open and work is done to maintain a good emotional bond.